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The Democrats' Dan Quayle Gore gaffes

By Rachel Alexander
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 31, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dan Quayle no longer holds the record as the dumbest vice president. He has been succeeded by Al Gore.

Most recently, Gore demonstrated his ignorance, combined with a frightening level of arrogance. In an interview with CNN this month, Gore claimed credit for inventing the Internet. "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

When confronted regarding this absurd statement, his spokesman, Chris Lehane, had the nerve to insist it was true.

"Gore was the leader in Congress on the connections between data transmission and computing power, what we today call information technology. And those efforts helped to create the Internet that we know today," he said.

This is flat out false. Gore was a 21-year-old in 1969 when the Internet - originally ARPANET - was developed through a project of the Defense Department. Gore was still in law school then and eight years away from entering Congress. Other than proposing a couple of bills to Congress in the 1990s calling for various federal regulations of the Internet, Gore's experience with the technical aspects of the Internet has been virtually nil.

During a campaign trip to Pennsylvania, he told an audience there that he has trouble turning on a computer, let alone using one.

At a White House event, Gore introduced Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers. Cisco Systems provides networks for local and Internet purposes, including routers - one of the basic foundations of the Internet, the conduit for transmitting information. While introducing Chambers, Gore mispronounced routers as "root-ers."

Gore has made numerous other embarrassing mistakes. In the spring of last year, Gore called the executive editor of the Washington Post to tell him there was an error in the paper - there was an upside down picture of the earth. But the Earth in the Balance author was mistaken. There is no "up" or "down" in space, only on flat maps that orient the earth north and south.

Rambling on about one of his big government projects in a Milwaukee speech to the Institute of World Affairs, Gore slaughtered the national motto saying, "We can build a collective civic space large enough for all our separate identities, that we can be e pluribus unum - out of one, many."

The actual phrase reads, "out of many, one."

Speaking at a D.C. function last year, Gore praised the Chicago Bulls, saying, "I tell you that Michael Jackson is unbelievable, isn't he. He's just unbelievable."

In 1992, while criticizing George Bush, Gore stated, "A zebra does not change its spots."

Visiting Minneapolis, Minn. last fall to raise money for the local Democrats, Gore couldn't figure out what state he was in. Praising the Democratic candidates, he said, "They will be the education team that Missouri needs to move into the 21st century."

At a speech given around Father's Day last year in D.C., Gore butchered another saying. He said, "It's a wise father who knows his child." The real proverb actually goes, "It's a wise child who knows its father."

Criticizing Oliver North in 1994, Gore stated that Mr. North was counting on political contributions from "the extra-chromosome right wing." This was an extremely insensitive remark, making fun of people with Down's Syndrome. Apologizing for the rude remark later in a letter, Gore wrote that he had "learned an important lession [sic]."

At a conference on homelessness, Gore incorrectly related, "Speaking from my own religious tradition in this Christmas season, 2,000 years ago a homeless woman gave birth to a homeless child in a manger because the inn was full." Knowledgeable people were aghast. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was not a homeless person.

In 1996, a couple from Texas wrote a letter to Gore pleading for help with their public transportation system Amtrak, called the Texas Eagle. The Eagle was about to eliminate several of its lines because of financial problems. Gore wrote them back a letter instructing them on what they should do regarding the plight of an animal on the verge of extinction, and told them how much he cared about the Texas Eagle.

Perhaps Gore's most careless remark was the pledge he made in a 1988 presidential debate. "My first pledge will be to restore integrity to the White

House. And I'll fire anyone who has lied to the American people or the United States Congress."

Obviously, he never intended these noble standards to apply to anyone other than the Republican opposition, judging from his passive reaction when President Clinton wagged his finger at the American people.

Why is it that the press was so quick to jump all over Quayle when he made a couple of gaffes, but you have to really dig to discover this flood of embarrassing misstatements made by Gore?